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    Thread: Stick shift on steering column?!!?!?!?!?!

    1. Member
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      04-27-2003 10:02 AM #1

      Ok, weirdest thing.

      I was out with some friends, when one of them told me he has a 197X Lincoln (Continental I believe, with the suicide doors), which has a MANUAL transmission, mounted... ON THE STEERING COLUMN... much like the grandma style Automatics on the steering column, but a manual.

      Is this even possible!? I've never heard of anything like this. If there is such a thing, can someone post a pic of it? Thanks!


    2. 04-27-2003 10:10 AM #2
      Quote, originally posted by Quattro80 »
      Is this even possible!?

      Yes.


    3. Member Eolair's Avatar
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      04-27-2003 10:10 AM #3
      Quote, originally posted by Quattro80 »

      Ok, weirdest thing.

      I was out with some friends, when one of them told me he has a 197X Lincoln (Continental I believe, with the suicide doors), which has a MANUAL transmission, mounted... ON THE STEERING COLUMN... much like the grandma style Automatics on the steering column, but a manual.

      Is this even possible!? I've never heard of anything like this. If there is such a thing, can someone post a pic of it? Thanks!


      It was the standard placement for the shifters on most regular European cars in the 50s and 60s.

    4. 04-27-2003 10:21 AM #4
      This Old Ford Truck at my work has..."3 on the Tree" (3 spd manual mounted on steering column



    5. Get Off My Lawn!!! vwlarry's Avatar
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      04-27-2003 10:23 AM #5
      It still amazes me how what was commonplace in the not-that-distant past is now viewed as strange. The column-mounted gearshift debuted in the late thirties on General Motors cars. It was originally seen as an advancement, which opened up the center of the front seat to a third passenger, as cars at that time were becoming wider in the front-seat area due to the elimination of running boards and the advent of full-width car bodies. Floor-mounted gearshifts all but disappeared on American cars by the early fifties. By the time of the debut of the Chevrolet Corvette, in 1953, which featured a floorshift as a novelty, things had come full-circle.

      The "three on the tree" column-shifter persisted on American cars, (and some European makes; Mercedes Benz amongst them) through the sixties and seventies, mostly on non-sporty sedans/family cars. As the automatic transmission became almost universal on American cars, manual shifting cars of any type almost disappeared. Benchseats likewise disappeared through the seventies and eighties, and shift levers of any type, manual or automatic, again found their way to the floor, as marketing types exploited the sportiness of it all.

      I learned to drive a manual trans in my dad's beat-up '49 Chevrolet coupe "go to work at the mills" car, which had the then boringly common three-on-the-tree shifter. My best friend bought a nice '52 Mercedes Benz 220 sedan in '73, which had a (rather bizarre and hard to master) four-speed on the column shifter.

      What goes around comes around. BMW's new seven series features a transmission controller that is mounted on the column, and not on the console. Isn't that just a revolutionary idea?

      Do you enjoy old cars and long-winded stories about them? If your answer is "yes", then you might enjoy my blogpage. Try it here: http://vwlarry.blogspot.com . Leave a comment, too; I love feedback! Thanx for reading.

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    6. Member philchris's Avatar
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      04-27-2003 10:31 AM #6
      Quote, originally posted by vwlarry »
      I learned to drive a manual trans in my dad's beat-up '49 Chevrolet coupe "go to work at the mills" car, which had the then boringly common three-on-the-tree shifter.

      I learned to drive a manual on a 1971 Chevy Nomad Wagon with a column mounted shifter.


    7. Member maskedSONY's Avatar
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      04-27-2003 10:34 AM #7
      anyone ever been to india?

      well if any of you folks have gotten one of the older fiat taxis for a ride, you mighta noticed that the shifter is on the dashboard. its totally wierd and the next time i go there i want to try it out just to see how it feels.

      Quote Originally Posted by Turbiodiesel!
      It really is the perfect, no excuses all-rounder for the rich guy who's accustomed to having it all - the Hybrid version especially. It's like an F-150 Raptor banged an M5 in the men's room of a biker bar. Nobody really wanted the results, but damn - what a set of genes.

    8. Get Off My Lawn!!! vwlarry's Avatar
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      04-27-2003 10:40 AM #8
      Although quick-gearshifts are pretty much out of the question with a column-shift, (due to all the monkey-motion linkage from trans to column), a nicely adjusted one is really a v. pleasant thing to use.
      Do you enjoy old cars and long-winded stories about them? If your answer is "yes", then you might enjoy my blogpage. Try it here: http://vwlarry.blogspot.com . Leave a comment, too; I love feedback! Thanx for reading.

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    9. 04-27-2003 11:01 AM #9
      If you've ever heard the phrase "four on the floor", it should make more sense now.

      Bowtie wearing, tattooed, Mustang driver

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    10. Member MartijnGizmo's Avatar
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      04-27-2003 11:04 AM #10
      Quote, originally posted by cougar »
      If you've ever heard the phrase "four on the floor", it should make more sense now.

      I'd prefer "six for the chicks".....


    11. 04-27-2003 12:57 PM #11
      They got those in Hong Kong cabs too (crazy drivers! )
      Let's Go Jets/Mets/Nets

    12. Senior Member Son's Avatar
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      04-27-2003 01:01 PM #12
      The only car with a steering column stick shift I have driven was a 70's Toyota Hiace pick-up. Horrible thing.
      Previously known as Son of a B...5er!

    13. 04-27-2003 01:08 PM #13
      The French also had in the not to distant past, cars such as the Renault 4 and Citroen 2 CV with sticks sprouting from the middle of the dash in a 'push-pull' type of arrangement. While I have never driven a column shift, I remember my uncle having an early 60's Fiat 1100 with one.

    14. Banned DCS's Avatar
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      04-27-2003 01:18 PM #14
      I had to move some older domestic car a few years back. I was given the keys, got in and saw a column shift. I assumed that it was auto. Turned the key, lunged forward and slammed the brakes, took the key out and stopped about 1 ft. short of a pole.

    15. Global Moderator John A's Avatar
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      04-27-2003 02:03 PM #15
      our 1964.5 JEEP CJ-6a has a 'three on the tree'

      and it's got no synchros. you HAVE to double-clutch.


    16. 04-27-2003 02:08 PM #16
      Quote, originally posted by maskedSONY »
      anyone ever been to india?

      well if any of you folks have gotten one of the older fiat taxis for a ride, you mighta noticed that the shifter is on the dashboard. its totally wierd and the next time i go there i want to try it out just to see how it feels.

      I tried it. It's not to hard, feels somewhat natural. I love the clutches on those cars, really easy to drive.


    17. 04-27-2003 02:10 PM #17
      You have to double-clutch or it will die?

    18. Member MartijnGizmo's Avatar
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      04-27-2003 02:10 PM #18
      Quote, originally posted by Jamblastx »
      The French also had in the not to distant past, cars such as the Renault 4 and Citroen 2 CV with sticks sprouting from the middle of the dash in a 'push-pull' type of arrangement.

      Umbrella-shifter.....


    19. Global Moderator John A's Avatar
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      04-27-2003 02:17 PM #19
      on our jeep you have to double-clutch, or you can't shift.


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      04-27-2003 02:19 PM #20
      A neighbor's 1960's first generation Camaro has the shifter on the column.

    21. 04-27-2003 04:24 PM #21
      all the taxis in hong kong have the stick on the column. Whiel riding in them confused for a couple days, i asked my dad and was enlightened about the column shifter.

    22. Senior Member PerL's Avatar
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      04-27-2003 04:47 PM #22
      We had a Mitsubishi van at work, a 1997 L400 2wd, which had a 5-speed coloumn shifter. Despite looking weird, it actually worked ok!

      The van was a dog though. It had a 2.5 TD from the Pajero/Montero. With 100 hp and too much torque for an empty van, drifting on winter roads was no problem, of course a rear diff brake helped out a lot as well.

      The only good thing I can say about that van was the lights. Excellenct lights with a nice, even and full low beam and far-reaching highs due to dual headlights.

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      04-27-2003 05:08 PM #23
      Hey guys... thanks for all the replies.. its been a very interesting topic... but I was wondering if anyone has any pictures of how the actual shifter looks like, on the column; like, it is a typical manual transmission style (1,2,3,4,5,R setup) or is it different?

      Thanks!!


    24. 04-27-2003 05:29 PM #24
      I believe the Toyota Previa was offered with it on the column.

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      04-27-2003 05:41 PM #25
      Ive driven a 50 something ford with 3 on the tree, and a 60s Saab with 3 on the tree, both were very strange to drive, felt kinda weird grabbing the colum to shift gears, i am so used to having them on the floor.
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    26. Member matoo's Avatar
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      04-27-2003 05:51 PM #26
      My first car, a 53 ford mainline vic, had a 3 on the tree. Pretty easy to use, although the throws were very long. It didn't have synchros for first, so you had to either double clutch or come to a complete stop before putting it into first.
      The shift pattern was pretty similar to taking a floor shift and throwing it on the column.
      Toward you and down was first. Away and up was second. Away and down was third. Toward and up was reverse.
      The other thing on that car that was common then and disappeared was the parking brake that pulled straight out. It was a T handle just under the dash, To release, twist and push in.
      Man I love old cars. Wish I didn't have to sell that thing.
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    27. Senior Member PerL's Avatar
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      04-27-2003 06:03 PM #27
      Quote, originally posted by Quattro80 »
      but I was wondering if anyone has any pictures of how the actual shifter looks like, on the column; like, it is a typical manual transmission style (1,2,3,4,5,R setup) or is it different?

      Thanks!!

      On the blue van I posted above, it was just like any other Japanese 5-speed. You had neutral length-wise to the steering coloumn, so to put it in 1st, you would pull the lever against you and lift it up. Reverse was push against dash and push down. Pretty normal gear pattern and no trouble using it when you got used to it.

      I forgot to mention the upside (and this is the same reason why several Euro vans now have dash mounted gear levers). The upside is that a lot of these vans are registered for three persons up front. Some vans, like the Eurovan, have a floor shifter, that will interfere with the lges/knees of the middle passenger. Now, that may not be a bad thing, depending on the sex of said passenger, and her physics but in day-to-day traffic, it's kinda awkward.

      "YOL∞". - Hindu cliché.

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      04-27-2003 07:24 PM #28
      My god, I thought this was common knowledge?

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      04-27-2003 08:08 PM #29
      Any of you guys ever drive a 3 in the tree when the linkage is worn out? It usually gets stuck in second. You had to pop the hood, reach waaayyy down, pull the linkage back, then get back in and find first. It usually took 2 people to get this right the first time: one to move the gearshift, one to watch which linkage moves which way to do what.

      Fun. NOT.


    30. Member maskedSONY's Avatar
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      04-27-2003 08:40 PM #30
      Quote, originally posted by mAdD INDIAN »
      I tried it. It's not to hard, feels somewhat natural. I love the clutches on those cars, really easy to drive.

      Those have to be considering how driving is over in india. maybe we should write up a comprehensive thread about driving over there for the vortex.

      Quote Originally Posted by Turbiodiesel!
      It really is the perfect, no excuses all-rounder for the rich guy who's accustomed to having it all - the Hybrid version especially. It's like an F-150 Raptor banged an M5 in the men's room of a biker bar. Nobody really wanted the results, but damn - what a set of genes.

    31. 04-27-2003 08:42 PM #31
      we should. Those cars (Maruti 800 & Zen and Ford Ikon) are pretty fun to drive! I know the Zen is a great handler!

    32. Member MartijnGizmo's Avatar
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      04-28-2003 01:10 PM #32
      Quote, originally posted by PerL »

      I forgot to mention the upside (and this is the same reason why several Euro vans now have dash mounted gear levers). The upside is that a lot of these vans are registered for three persons up front. Some vans, like the Eurovan, have a floor shifter, that will interfere with the lges/knees of the middle passenger. Now, that may not be a bad thing, depending on the sex of said passenger, and her physics but in day-to-day traffic, it's kinda awkward.

      And seeing that it's more common that there is some 200lbs construction-worker next to you, that isn't a good thing.....


    33. Member Rice_Box[Sentra]'s Avatar
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      04-28-2003 01:17 PM #33
      Quote, originally posted by Aw614 »
      I believe the Toyota Previa was offered with it on the column.
      My friend has a 5-speed Previa. The stick is on the floor.

    34. 04-28-2003 01:31 PM #34
      Quote, originally posted by ZackaryMac »
      Any of you guys ever drive a 3 in the tree when the linkage is worn out? It usually gets stuck in second. You had to pop the hood, reach waaayyy down, pull the linkage back, then get back in and find first. It usually took 2 people to get this right the first time: one to move the gearshift, one to watch which linkage moves which way to do what.

      Fun. NOT.

      Ahhahah, my 76 "Heavy Chevy" p/u had worn out shifter bushings. If you went from 3rd back to 1st without going to 2nd, it would lock up in 3rd everytime. I got busted for doing latenight burnouts by an off duty cop because you had to stop, turn off the engine, pop the hood, release the linkage to neutral, jump back in and take off.

      How about smacking the windshield with your fist when the shift knob slips off during "speed shifts" . I miss that.


    35. 04-28-2003 01:32 PM #35
      All the vans in asia(and even some of the trucks) have the shifter in the steering column.. not a very new thing at all. Just dont see it much in the US

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